Core Meeting

When:  May, 9 2014.


John Boecker

Jeffrey Brownson

Rob Cooper

Tom Keiter

Sarah Klinetob Lowe

Mike Prinkey

Mark Wherley

Alex Wiker

Core Meeting - Purpose

Goal 1:

One of the goals of today’s meeting is to slow down the flow and carefully re-craft the Meeting Purpose.

To align the project core team around the purpose, outcomes, and process fordeveloping a community-sourced PV system Workshop aimed at installing solarfarming as a learning lab at Penn State,

In a way that deeply values the role of all stakeholders in a collaborative co-creative process,

So that all stakeholders enthusiastically participate in enriching and improving the unique quality of life in thisparticular community indefinitely.

Goal 2:

Today we will plan for the workshop and how to present the project to the public in such a way that the public will take ownership of the project. Looking at the project statement, we need to be sure that all three parts are focused on what we need.
  • We need to align community sourced with the community’s goal
  • Why does the document have no timeline?
  • We need to focus on the workshop
  • We need to plan out the entire arc of the project

While planning the project, we need to do our best to keep as many of the frameworks in mind at all times

Core Meeting - Agenda


The discussion was began  the fact that the project is more than simply installing PV array at Penn State. Currentconditions in the industry and public opinion show improved possibility of success compared to five years ago. Recentmeetings with COG indicate that there is a lot of local interest in PV. It is indicated that we need to be ware of negativereactions (resistance) from some local groups/people. Then, it is asked to hold off on discussing resistance until later.

Exercise 1 (Opening Exercise)

Relaxation exercise with three questions;

  1. Why are you here?
  2. What is the single most work-related potential that you bring to this project,
  3. What is the single most work-related problem that you see in this project?

Consider how you went about answering the second and third question.


  1.  ​It will be difficult to manage moving this project forward
  2. The challenge is in motivating. Jeffrey sees a need for a strong sense of place and building a sense ofownership
  3. To solve problems
  4. To make a difference.
  5. Installing a PV array is a symbol of community spirit not just a step by step process of. Looking forward to learning about the dynamics within the community. 
  1. A building sense of panic trying to balance the Work/time challenges
  2. The challenge of changing upper level people’s willingness to change what the status quo. How do we build a sense of pride?
  3. This is a big challenge that makes me nervous. I need to break the task into smaller pieces.
  4. Finding a sense of place while changing jobs from jet engine engineer to volunteer work….scary
  5. Doesn’t feel knowledgeable about the technical end.

Additionally, there was a discussion about equating PV to a keystone species like the wolf. Introducing a wolf into an environment will forever change that environment. Introducing PV will change the technological environment at PSU.

Exercise 2

 Think of a meaningful project that was fulfilling and a meaningful project that was agonizing, andwhat made each project different?




  1. Shared values and working well within a group.
  2. 2009 Solar Decathlon was an excellent group with a shared vision. Project had a slow start but very productive in the end. It had a sense of a co-created project.
  3. Working within a group with the goal of reducing PSU greenhouse gas emissions. 
  1. Driving a project by himself. 
  2. The 2017 Solar Decathlon. Command and Control method of assigning tasks resulted in tension and no shared vision.
  3. The pushback from the community about changing from coal to natural gas was unexpected. Several years of planning with lots of progress and then..


FRAMEWORK  #1  Levels of Thought

Step 1




Step 2




Step 3





Part of Rob’s problem arose because the public entered the process in stage 2 and some of them felt that they were not involved in the early stages of the process.

Alignment is important – We need to bring the public into the process as early as is reasonable.

Discussion about  North Dakota decided to build a community health center. The project worked well because the “community” decided to build the health center. Even though a significant percentage of the population were not originally from the town, everyone had become community members.

Three Lines of Work (Carol Sanford)

Value Adding Process (Charlie Krones)

System Management (Charlie Krones)

The human body works because the system works together. A liver on its own is useless. Similarly, a high performance building in a poor system is useless.The system brings value to the group and the group brings value to the individual.


In Nature, resistance in water flow allows the water to take up nutrients that in turn feed the fish that can eventually feed us. (Resistance or slowing is important.)
Looking at a tree as the same system, the strength of the tree is not just the trunk, it is the roots and the leaves at the extremes.
Being aware of all of these frameworks will lead to a better understanding the cosmology of the entire Solar on State project.

Breakout Groups – Exercise 1:  

 What is unique about this place?
Physical: Trees, ridge and valley, cloud cover, island in a field, education, Happy Valley resilience, mild weather,

low bug count.
People: Core/Shell community structure, outdoor recreation, PSU farming core, big sports in a small town, age –youth and energy.
Other: Alumni mass -‐‐ the potential to spread the solar initiative, Lunar Lion – PSU flag on the moon, PSU -‐‐ Pride! 
Regroup: How does the uniqueness of State College fit into the “Story of Place “framework?
  1. Core Processes - What are the core processes that make State College what it is? (geology, physiology, hydrology, flora, fauna.)
  2. Core Purpose
  3. Core Values – Value adding processes

The core processes, purpose, and values all help get to the essence of a place.

  • State College has physical/geological barriers that isolate it from other communities and yet we always have an influx of new lifeblood (students).
  • State College has shown that it is a resilient town.
  • State College has a large potential to generate spread through the sheer mass of the alumni.

How does this exercise facilitate Solar on State? The people of Happy Valley show a strong connection to place and Penn State has a huge alumni presence. We should be able to tap into both. 

Breakout Groups - Exercise 2  

  1. What is the single effect we want this project to manifest?
  2. What are the risks? 
Positives Negatives
  • Build a culture of solar farming
  • Export a solar culture
  • Build PSU solar expertise
  • Replicate the viability of concept
  • Link to “Global Warming”
  • Risk if roof mounted system
  • The valley between will and fiscal responsibility

 We should be less focused on details and more focused on the generalities of the effects and risks, things vs. processes.

We want to provide solar accessibility to everyone (a thing)
  • Create an promotional opportunity for PSU
  • Town and Gown collaboration
  • Community sourced project
  • Culture of solar farming (or harvesting) {PA is just 15% below the solar capacity of the SW states}


We need to be careful with our choice of words.

  •  Is “culture” the proper word? Does “culture” have a negative connotation, as in…you want to change my culture?
  •  Storm water vs. rain water.
  • Do we use photovoltaic or solar farming? We are not trying to replace farmland with PV.
  • Is there a risk of naysayers associating this project with Global Warming?
  • Should this project be one large facility or multiple rooftop installations?  - A rooftop installation typically only captures 30% of a buildings needs.
  • PSUs current carbon reduction plan is focused on conservation.
  • Does the Solar on State project put PSUs financial future at risk or does solar become a value added opportunity.

How do we deliver value added processes to PSU and ALL stakeholders?

Key Stakeholders Framework -Pentad:


Our task is to define who the stakeholders are and where do they fit into the pentad. (Note: In our pentad, the earth systems do not have a voice.)

In business we focus on the return on investment (ROI)

#1 responsibility is the investor.

#2 responsibility is the customer.

Breakout Groups – Exercise 3: 

Identify one or two value added processes for each entity in order to help the system grow. How do we build up the whole system so that no one can afford to lose the project? We need to focus on building relationships between each of the entities.

A. Customers -(residents, PSU)

Create a solar farm that enriches the area in a way that makes the land fertile, town viable, and the University thrive.

B. Community- (residents, students, property owners, visitors) Cultivate a sense of ownership of energy flow that builds community pride, local stability, growth,

advancement, viability, and vitality.

C. Co-creators - (employees, installation crew, project managers, OPP, research students)Create a means by which they can grow and develop careers, skill sets, businesses, and economic viability.

D. Investors -(PSU)Enrich the memory of Happy Valley as the best place on earth to nurture the future.

We need to ensure that each stakeholder derives value from and continue to contribute to the project.

We need to ensure that each stakeholder derives value from and continue to contribute to the project.

Core Meeting - Output

Outcomes of the Meeting

Develop principles for value added project:

 “Come align around defining the purpose of this project.”

Note: We are running a little behind on tome so we will have to have am phone call later where we define the outcomes…

Project Function Statement:  

To develop a community-created place-sourced photovoltaic generated utility source.”

Revised to…

“To develop a community-created PV-generated energy source in Happy Valley.”

  1. Integrate Town-Gown collaborative participation and co-collaboration.
  2. Discover and support the best and most effective locations for PV components.
  3. Develop and support community and University champions and advocates indefinitely.
  4. Develop nurturing (love-based not fear-based) decision making strategies.


  • Who needs to be present and who do we invite?  The people who can make this happen and people who can make this stop.
  • State College public works (director/manager)
  • College Township public works (director/manager)
  • PSU VP of finance (or representative)
  • Solar on State core team (us)
  • PSU Sustainability Institute (David Riley and Denise W.)
  • Solar Campus Initiative (Chrei Olf?)
  • Community Energy Inc. representative
  • First Energy (West Penn Power) representative
  • Local Banks
  • Local municipality representatives (elected officials)
  • PSU office of investment (Dave Brannigan)
  • Community barriers (Joanne Swart?, David Stone, Mike Rebacki, Katherine Watt)
  • Community supporters
  • Student groups
  1. Sustainability Advisory Council
  2. Sustainability Institute interns
  3. Community and Economic Development
  • PSU attorney(s)
  • PSU alumni association representatives
  • Local school district
  • Business community (real estate, installation firms)

Next Steps:

The following items need to be finalized.

  1. What is the right number of people for the workshop?       Invite 100 expecting 60 to attend
  2. Where should the workshop be held?                                Local school – Park Forest Elementary
  3. When should the workshop take place?                             Late August? – Hopefully a late August workshop will allow most interested people a chance to attend.
  4. Identify ALL attendees.  Jeffrey will set up a Google Doc for us to populate with names, contact information, why, and entity.  The list should be vetted by Jeffrey and Rob.
  5. We need more calls to establish our intended public workshop outcomes and the public workshop process (agenda)
  6. Develop invitation from the value added processes.


  • Anxiety level continues to increase – the project is getting bigger and bigger.
  • The procurement process at PSU is very complicated and we have a lot of unknowns.
  • We are gathering of the right people to move this project forward. We obviously have the intent and guidance that moves beyond merely splattering paint and hoping for the best.
  • A thought from his yoga instructor… let go of control and your body will do what it needs to do.
  • If the project moves off campus, he cannot fulfill his job responsibility of reducing PSUs carbon footprint.

Revised Purpose Statement

To develop a community-created PV-generated energy source in Happy Valley,

In a way that deeply values the role of all stakeholders in a collaborative transparent co-creative process,

So that all of the stakeholders enthusiastically participate in enriching and improving the unique quality of life in this particular community indefinitely.